Jeff!!! I loved your pictures from Nats park and I’m psyched that you
got to see Strasburg. I also saw that you’ve been to Sox park and
Wrigley recently. What’s your favorite ballpark that you’ve already
visited and which place would you like to see the most?
After a fiery, bloody internal debate that lasted well over an hour, I finally decided not to begin addressing this query by postulating what one would find if he/she were to actually venture to Manassas, VA… ‘cuz I’m pretty sure one can find Man-assas (a$$e$?) anywhere… including ballparks all across US America.
Still got it, folks.
Okay, maybe not.
But it doesn’t matter… and neither does the ballpark, Caitlin. What matters is the game. Sure Busch hosts my boys, Wrigley’s nostalgic, Nats Park has Ben’s Chili Bowl and Sox Park is a good place to pick up Latin Queens; but to be honest, I can find something positive about any and every ballpark I ever go to. And I’ve been to many.
My favorite random ballpark story is the one about the Oakland Coliseum. I happened to be in San Francisco on business. It was a Saturday night and I had nothing to do, so I hopped on the BART to Oakland, walked up to the ticket counter at the Coliseum and said, “I got forty bucks. Where can I sit for that?”
“In a good seat, Honey.” said the kind ticket lady.
Ten minutes later I’m sitting behind homeplate on the first tier above ground level and I can hear Nick Swisher’s awful jokes with my own ears. Ten minutes after that and I have a Fat Tire in my hand (at the ballpark!) and a few hours after that I was sufficiently drunk off the seductive elixir of the game itself.
And that can happen anywhere.
Though there is one place in particular that I just gotta go to, before it goes back to just hosting football games:
(Chewbacca image via 9GAG)
It’s that time of year again. Interleague play. I seem to remember you
guys aren’t big fans of it. Is that still true?
Jeff is the hardcore traditionalist out of the two of us. He still makes the sign of the cross and spits to ward off the evil eye whenever he hears the words “Live Ball Era.” Me, I’m a realist. Maybe interleague play belongs only to the World Series but baseball survives because people are willing to spend money on coming to games. And the reason they come to games is to be entertained.
Let’s face it, interleague play is entertaining. Outside of the artificial milieu of the All-Star game, it’s our only chance to see how the two leagues match up against each other. It allows for natural rivalries that we probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. When is the next time the Reds and Indians are going to face each other in a World Series? Yeah, not freakin’ likely.
Like I said earlier, baseball runs on money and interleague play definitely makes money. There are special jerseys, commemorative bric-a-brac and god knows what else to go along with these series. Add in all the hype from places like ESPN who are practically falling over themselves to broadcast the Mets and Yankees and you have the recipe for some serious dough.
So I say keep it coming. Sure, it takes away from important divisional games and maybe it distorts the full effect of the World Series. But it also pays for the Nationals to put in Ben’s Chili Bowl at their ballpark and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
No, not that Chili. We’re talking about the kind of chili you cook up for days on end, taking care to add the right ingredients at the right time and ideally avoiding anything too explosive. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like the cooking that large swaths of the Midwest are doing right now even if the end result is probably a bit different.
To get back to the point, though, there’s a reason why chili topped anything is the choice of single men everywhere during the long cold winter months. It’s a delicious yet foul concoction that does damage at every point of the process of consumption. And if the sheer scatology of it all wasn’t enough, nothing brings men and sports together in awe-inspiring and death defying ways quite like chili.
Chili comes in many wonderful styles and, as a service to our loyal readers on this Friday afternoon, we here at RSBS want to highlight some of the more delectable forms that chili can take, especially at the ballpark. So come with us on a cayenne and tabasco infused journey deep inside a supernova of flavor.
The Classic Bowl of Chili
You don’t see a whole lot of this these days and it makes sense. If you’re jumping out of a small seat in a narrow space to cheer, you don’t really want to be dealing with a big ol’ bowl of chili. But under more sedate circumstances, nothing warms you up during early or late season games quite like a healthy helping of spicy chili.
The Chili Dog
Like a bowl of chili, the chili dog is also a classic. It makes sense, too. A hot dog is pretty close to perfection so if you’re going to do anything with it, you better make sure it’s good. A healthy helping of chili on top? Yep, that’s good. In fact, it probably would have been the end of the list except for one minor detail….
Chili Cheese Fries
There are a lot of things the Washington Nationals do wrong. But there is one thing they do very right. And that is letting Ben’s Chili Bowl serve up its wares inside the confines of their ballpark. Nationals are losing again? Doesn’t matter, I’ve got an order of chili cheese fries. Nationals misspelled their own names on their jerseys? Guess I should have another. However, there is still one step left to be taken to the pinnacle of chili evolution….
The Chili Cheese Half Smoke
As good as Ben’s chili cheese fries may be, the half smoke smothered in cheese and topped with chili represents a dimension of chili spectacularity all it’s own. Yes, that’s right. I’m making up words just to describe its scrumptatiousness. I don’t ask you to take my word for it. I just ask that you try it out for yourself if you’re ever in the DC area and see if I’m on to something. You won’t be disappointed.
As the dust has settled following President Obama’s not quite State of the Union Address and the subsequent Republican self-defenestration, it appears that a new order has taken hold in the DC corridors of power. On the one one hand we have Kenneth, I mean Bobby, and his earnest yet misguided attempts at speaking truth to power:
…while on the other we have the perpetual outcasts, the “Defeat-ocrats,” the party of Mondale, in the ascendancy, finally sitting courtside as the cool kids are wont to do:
But, you’re probably asking yourself, what does this mean for me, a baseball loving, god fearing, jerky chewing, rough living SOB? Well, I’ll tell you what it means. It means it’s time to hit as many Nationals’ games as possible in hopes of sending our Commander in Chief a Ben’s half-smoke with all the fixin’s. And that ain’t no euphemism. The man has taste.
After barely surviving the sucker punch that was 2008, 2009 appears to be treating the Michigan diaspora a little better. For instance, this past week we learned that Curtis Granderson will be representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. Now, I’m not saying that Granderson is the best center fielder out there but he has developed into a talent to be watched over the past couple seasons and it’s nice to see him get a little more recognition for that. It was also nice to see the Red Wings take down the red-hot Blackhawks on the ice at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.
However, there was another red-hot piece of news that truly warmed my heart as an American and current denizen of our nation’s capitol. Although it was never really in doubt, President-elect Obama reconfirmed yesterday that that we truly share the same values. Now, I’ve mentioned the DC institution and National’s ballpark mainstay, Ben’s Chili Bowl, before but it bears repeating that this place is beyond amazing. And when I watched footage yesterday of Mr. Obama’s visit to Ben’s, I realized that here this man is in touch with the nation’s stomach in a way we haven’t seen since Clinton’s first term. I mean, here is a guy who appreciates the chili-cheese half-smoke and unabashedly supports a single baseball team. Could anything be more American?
Now, I know that the months ahead are going to be difficult for Obama and his team. In fact, one might even compare it to the torment that is the line at Ben’s around 2 in the morning on a weekend. But, if the past week is any indication, maybe we are seeing change we can believe in. I just hope that CG and the Tigers offer me a little of the same.
Sunday afternoon I had my first opportunity to hit the ballpark, soak up some rays, drink a few beers and enjoy watching the Nats as they entertained the visiting Cubs. However, as they say, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men…..
Turns out that after a week of ridiculous heat and asthma inducing humidity, the weather gods decided to turn things on their head a little bit and go more for the mid-50’s with mist sort of atmosphere. And I’m not going to lie. When you’re sitting in the upper upper deck, way out in left field and that wind starts to blow off the Potomac, it ain’t pretty. And it wasn’t. But, I’m a trooper so I got decked out in my Sunday finest and headed for Nationals Park.
What can I say? It’s a new-fangled ballpark. They serve mixed drinks, they have Ben’s Chili Bowl and the seats aren’t too nasty yet. The game was a close-fought contest and the Nats prevailed. There were a couple of spectacular plays by Reed Johnson of the Cubs in centerfield and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats at third.
But in the end, although I love visiting new parks, there’s really only one place that I consider home when it comes to watching baseball: Comerica Park. And yes, I know it’s new and I know it replaced Tiger’s Stadium which was a classic old ballpark. But you know what? When it comes to the Tigers, I don’t think they can do any wrong. This is a team that made me accept Gary Sheffield as one of our own despite the fact that I still picture him in Yankee pinstripes. And I just don’t have anything close to that affinity for either the Cubs or the Nats. The closest thing I could come up with is that the enemy of the enemy of my friend is my friend. But, that’s a pretty tenuous connection.
So, as it stands, I’m just going to have to sit tight and enjoy baseball as I can. But don’t worry. The Tigers come to Baltimore in July and I haven’t been to Camden Yards yet. The Olde English “D” will be flying free in the Chesapeake Bay breezes. Of that you can be sure.